This blog post was written by special guest, Steeplechasers member, and our Signature Race Summer Solstice 8K 2023 Premier Sponsor, Dr. Matt Silver.

Run training can be strenuous on your body. To prevent running injuries and maximize
performance, it’s crucial that precautions are taken. Here are important exercises and tips for
running injury prevention.

Exercises to do for Running Injury Prevention

Strength training can help you develop stronger muscles, enhance your form and avoid injuries.
Focus on exercises targeting the legs, hips, and core – such as lunges, squats, and planks with
twists. Here are a few great exercises to incorporate into your strength training program.

Lower Body

  • Elephant walks (hamstring stretch)
  • Runners lunges with rotation
  • Quad stretch
  • Heel raise
  • Hip thrust
  • Bulgarian split squats
  • Shin raises

Upper Body

  • Upper back release
  • Pec release


  • Plank with a twist
  • Side planks with clamshell

6 Tips for Running Injury Prevention

In addition to a strength training program, remember these tips before, during, and after your
runs to help avoid injury.

  1. Warm up, Warm up, Warm up
    Before beginning to run, it is essential to do a proper warm-up. A suitable warm-up routine
    includes dynamic stretching exercises that will increase heart rate, activate muscles, move
    blood from the organs to the muscles, and more to get your body primed and ready to run!
  2. Work on Your Running Form
    Running form is one of the most overlooked aspects of running and can be improved. Some of
    the more common problems with running form include:

    — Overstriding
    — Bouncing
    — Collapsing
    — Leaning too far backward
  3. Breathe Correctly
    Correct breathing techniques can help improve running efficiency and decrease aches and
    pains, especially in the neck and shoulders! You want to focus on breathing in through your
    nose and out through your nose as much as you can.

    Our nose was made for breathing, and our mouth was made for eating. We should keep the two
    separate for as long as possible! A great way to start working on this is to practice breathing in
    and out through your nose when walking, at work, sitting, etc.

    Practice nose breathing outside of running as well as during running.

    Eventually, we’ll have to use our mouth to assist in breathing; however, this occurs at higher-
    intensity running.

    Breathing through your nose also helps you use your diaphragm and less neck musculature.
    This is how diaphragmatic breathing can help reduce neck and shoulder tightness when
  4. Select the Appropriate Shoe
    Selecting appropriate running shoes is an important part of staying healthy. Ensuring you have
    a comfortable-fitting shoe is the number 1 advice for choosing running shoes.

    One piece of advice when selecting a shoe is to choose a shoe with a smaller heel-to-toe drop.
    This drop will raise your heel off the ground and actually shift your center of mass forwards. This
    shift in your center of mass commonly causes knee pain and overuses the quadriceps in

    Consider transitioning to a zero-drop shoe, which has no difference in the heel to toe ratio.
  5. Hydrate and Refresh
    Staying hydrated properly is key for optimal body functioning, so drink plenty of water
    throughout your run, before, during, and after. You should aim to drink about 5–10 fluid ounces
    of water
    every 15–20 minutes during your run, and at least 16 ounces after you run. Carry awater bottle if you’re planning a long run, or plan a route near water fountains to remain hydrated.
  1. Post-Run Recovery
    After each run, allowing yourself time and space for recovery is essential. Light stretching for at
    least two minutes will help, especially if you want to improve your mobility. Using a foam
    roller/lacrosse ball for soft tissue work on your legs will be a self-massage and improve stiffness
    in certain tissues. Give yourself enough rest before setting out again on another journey. It’s
    okay to take an extra easy day off from running.

In Closing

Following these tips and exercises for running injury prevention can help keep you healthy and
injury-free while enjoying your runs. By keeping these precautions in mind, you can continue
improving your running ability while decreasing injury risks.

Matt Silver is a Maryland physical therapist specializing in PT for runners. He is the owner of
Alpha Project Phyzio & Performance, a PT clinic that works with athletes and active adults. Find
a nearby PT location, with clinics in Germantown, Frederick, and, our newest location, in